NE processing sector has highest number of EU workers in Scotland

Stewart Stevenson says the talent and transferrable skills are invaluable to a number of sectors in UK, particularly the processing industry.
Stewart Stevenson says the talent and transferrable skills are invaluable to a number of sectors in UK, particularly the processing industry.

Figures have revealed the number of staff employed from the European Union in the processing industry is as high as 70 percent in the North East.

The numbers were revealed ahead of Brexit negotiations which began earlier this week.

It comes after Scottish Secretary David Mundell visited Peterhead to meet with representatives from the fishing industry.

Banffshire and Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson asked the Scottish Government what percentage of seafood processing employees in each Scotland region were from the UK, the European Economic Area (EEA) and non- EEA countries.

The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Connectivity, Fergus Ewing, said a survey was carried out in March this year on behalf of the Scottish Government, the UK Government and other devolved administrations.

The figures showed the number of EEA nationals in Grampian is 70 percent compared to 30 percent for the number of UK nationals.

The nearest region with high non-UK workers was ‘South, Midlands & Wales’, which had 52 percent EEA workers and five percent non-EEA workers.

Commenting, Mr Stevenson, said: “As Brexit negotiations get underway, it is important this Conservative-led government remember that the processing sector in the North East relies heavily on the free movement of people to staff this multi-million pound industry.

“We must ensure the promises made to the fishing sector by the Tories – that they will not be expendable – are followed through.

“The government must also ensure European citizens are given assurances they will be able to remain in this country. Their talent and transferrable skills are invaluable to a number of sectors in UK, particularly the processing industry.”